A story in last week's paper spoke about the rising levels of suicide in our society, particularly (and most disturbingly) among the young.

National statistics show suicide was the 10th leading cause of death overall in the United States. Furthermore, suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34, and the fourth leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 54.

In Haywood, between nine and 20 people die of suicide annually.

Many blame social media, which can make individuals feel far less fortunate than others in their group of friends, leading to despondency and feelings of hopelessness. Isolation, mental health issues, including addiction, and despair are all cited as reasons for an individual taking his or her own life.

Suicide is a serious public health issue, but one that is more preventable than many. We can all watch out for each other on this serious health problem.

Ideally, said the Center for Disease Control, prevention addresses all levels of influence: individual, relationship, community, and societal.

Let's all make a commitment to more carefully listen to family members, friends and colleagues for signs of despondency or clues that can indicate things are not quite right. 

Of all the things people die from, suicide should not be one of them.

Here are a few places to get help

Where to get help

Appalachian Community Services, an area mental health services provider, has a crisis line that people at risk of suicide and their loved ones may call for help. The phone number is 1-888-315-2880.

Another option is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

For life-threatening emergencies, the Haywood Regional Medical Center suggests calling 911.

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